California senator seeks to rein in local restrictions on development

The bill could eliminate parking requirements in buildings in LA, Bay Area

Nancy Skinner (Credit: Twitter)
Nancy Skinner (Credit: Twitter)

A Bay Area senator has introduced a bill that could impose new limits on what local governments in California can do to restrain development in their jurisdictions, the latest law meant to ease the state’s housing crisis.

Senate Bill 330, introduced by Sen. Nancy Skinner, would likely affect the more costly regions of the state, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The bill would block such areas from limiting the number of homes allowed on certain properties, while also set time limits on the approvals process. It would also eliminate the rule that developers must build a certain number of parking spots alongside their projects, though Skinner said developers still could if they wanted to.

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It also would protect low-income housing by prohibiting the demolition of any rent controlled or Section 8-funded apartments.

The new bill comes as lawmakers in Northern California buckle down on municipalities. Late last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom fired off a lawsuit against Huntington Beach for failing to comply with state requirements that demand the city set aside land for low-income housing.

The lawsuit was made possible under the new AB72 law, which gives the state more power to punish cities which break housing laws.

Wealthy enclaves in Southern California have a history of barring development when residents and local officials think it might degrade the community. In an extreme examples, Redondo Beach enacted a moratorium on mixed-use projects for nearly a year. Mayor Bill Brand was one of the main backers, arguing it would help ease traffic in the city and preserve the character of the coastal city. [LAT] – Natalie Hoberman

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